We understand that you need to be informed and prepared. This guide will take some of the mystery away and give simple, practical advice for successfully germinating your ginseng seeds.
Please study more about growing ginseng. As with any project of this nature, there are always variables to consider.
Panax Ginseng Seeds are unavailable from 20th July 2014 until further notice due to recent changes regarding the export of ginseng seeds from South Korea.
Ensuring Quality Seeds
Our Fresh Panax Ginseng (Korean Ginseng) seed is imported from South Korea. To maintain high standards and ensure swift quarantine processing, our seed is graded at 4mm and above seed size and thoroughly cleaned. It is prepared to AQIS specifications of purity and cleanliness. A phytosanitary certificate is issued in Seoul . An independent seed test is performed in Australia when necessary.
Ginseng Seed Availability
To ensure availability, it is necessary to pre order your ginseng seed for quantities above 5 kg .
Ginseng seed can be purchased as unstratified or stratified. There may be factors restricting the shipment of stratified seeds depending on your location, the length of time during delivery and the planned date of sowing. This will be discussed as part of the order process.
Fresh unstratified Panax Ginseng (Korean Ginseng) seed is generally available by August.
Fresh unstratified ginseng seed is more resilient than stratified ginseng seed. It is less susceptible to the physical conditions of shipping. Stratified ginseng seed from the unstratified batch is generally available in Australia in June of the following year.
Stratified ginseng seed exported directly from Korea is available in October / November. This seed is available in quantities 60 kg. and above.
Ginseng Seed Stratification
The process of stratification is necessary for your seeds to germinate.
The ginseng seed requires a warm period of 120 days 16ºC to stratify. A further cold period of 100 days at 2ºC – 4ºC , will break the stratified seed dormancy. A further warm period (spring time) will cause the seeds to germinate.
Ginseng stratification process
Stratification is a three phase process. The warm cycle after seed harvest (clean seed) 4 months at 15- 20ºC (develops the embryo).
The cold cycle (0-5ºC range is OK) 4ºC recommended triggers the germination mechanism. (approx. 100 days)
A warm period 15-20ºC following will start the germination.
Your seeds should be mixed with river sand 1:3 (seed:sand) and stored at 4ºC, 10% moisture. Pebbles in an onion bag keep the top seeds from drying when covering the seed sand mix. Plastic buckets in the refrigerator work well.
Small amounts of seed can be mixed with sand and placed in a cup with pebbles on top. This prevents quick drying of the mixture. A piece of fly netting works well to separate the pebbles from the sand mix but allows the mix to breath. The seed bags provided with seed orders 100g and larger can also be used for this purpose.
Seeds imported from South Korea are seasonally out of synchronization with our own in Australia. Some seeds may not germinate in the first year. Be patient and keep the conditions well for them. Although the seeds should not be wet, they should be kept moist at all times. The storage / stratification process helps to do this.
Timing for Stratification
This is a guide only. Germination can occur outside of this process. Living things are not always predictable. Store fresh unstratified seeds 2-3ºC (Slowly cool over 12hrs is more desirable) until the end of March. 10%-15% moisture is desirable. Mixed with clean, course river sand to separate them from each other and prevent drying out. Regularly check on the seeds. Turn them over a few times per week to reduce the risk of mould. Then slowly warm to 15ºC. Warm stratify period: (15ºC) April – June. ( Plant over winter to break dormancy) or Cold stratify in the refrigerator (4ºC) July- to the end of September. Warm slowly: (10-15ºC) Seeds should germinate soon when the soil warms. The seeds show signs of successful stratification by ‘Grinning’. The seedpod splits and looks as though it is smiling. Try to be ready for planting before the seeds germinate as they can be easily damaged at this stage.
Alternatively, order your seeds stratified ready for the cold stratification period.
Unstratified ginseng seed.
Stratified ginseng seed – ‘Grinning’
Ginseng Seed Quality
Ginseng seeds keep well if they are allowed to breath, are kept from sunlight, extreme temperatures and humidity.
Some ginseng seeds may become unviable through the stratification cycle.
By submersing fresh unstratified or stratified seed in water, the viability of the ginseng seed can be tested. Generally, floating ginseng seeds are to be discarded.
This method does not hold true with unstratified ginseng seeds, which have been left to dry. Slightly drying imported unstratified ginseng seeds is a method used to make them dormant and delay the stratification process to make adjustments to seasonal differences between countries.
Stratified ginseng seed is more susceptible to the conditions of shipping. Condensation and warm temperatures can cause mould / fungus or increase the chances of germination in transit. We wrap the seed bags in moist, clean, absorbent paper to reduce issues with condensation in transit and suggest the fasted shipping methods to be used.
The seeds will naturally discolour throughout the stratification process and some will be unviable.
Inspection of the seeds on a regular basis will give you an indication of how they are progressing and the moisture content. Generally, healthy seeds sink when placed in water. However, when stratified, this may not be the case.
Please contact us if you have any ginseng questions. We are happy to help you with your ginseng project.